May 30, 2018

Wyden Calls on FCC to Expand Wireless Coverage Eligibility for Rural Communities

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden joined a bipartisan group of senators today in sending a letter to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), requesting an extension of the challenge process for the mapping of areas eligible for Mobility Fund Phase II support, which would help expand wireless coverage to rural communities.

While you have noted that state, local, and Tribal governments can participate in the challenge process, absent additional direction, they may remain unaware or unprepared to do so.  We appreciate and encourage additional outreach to state, local, and Tribal governments on how they can participate in the challenge process,” the senators wrote.

The FCC’s presumptive eligibility map will help determine up to $4.53 billion in support for rural wireless broadband expansion over the next 10 years. The letter follows efforts to highlight the significant flaws in the current map, which purportedly shows areas that are served by 4G LTE service. The map shows many areas of states to be covered, when on-the-ground experience suggests otherwise.

The senators have asked the FCC to extend the challenge process window by 90 days to allow additional outreach to stakeholders, and to allow challengers to assemble the necessary data to challenge the eligibility map in their area.

Wyden was joined Sens. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., Jerry Moran, R-Kan., Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, Roy Blunt, R-Mo., Angus King, I-Maine, Cory Gardner, R-Colo., Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, Pat Roberts, R-Kan., Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., James Lankford, R-Okla., Richard Shelby, R-Ala., Tammy Baldwin, D-Wisc., Cindy Hyde-Smith, R-Miss., Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., Ron Johnson, R-Wisc., Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., Todd Young, R-Ind., Thom Tillis, R-N.C., Christopher Coons, D-Del., Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., Kamala Harris, D-Calif., Tina Smith, D-Minn., Tom Udall, D-N.M., Catherine Cortez-Masto, D-Nev., Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., Doug Jones, D-Ala., Edward Markey, D-Mass., and Deborah Fischer, D-Neb., in sending the letter.

The full letter can be found here.